I participated in three different #PitMad Pitch Wars events (for Hunter's Moon) in late 2018 and early 2019. I honed my tweets based on the tweets I saw that got a lot of likes and comments. I figured out the desired pattern and followed it. Yet I never got a single like from a literary agent (which means they want you to query them, and gives you an advantage over unsolicited queries).
Of course, that makes some sense because at the time I had less than 3000 Twitter followers. I was growing my platform: naturally, organically, meaning slowly. (At last count, I just broke 4700! 😊) Most agents probably didn't even see my tweets in the huge swarm of them on pitch days. I did get a bunch of retweets and comments from non-agents saying stuff like "That sounds cool!" But not what I craved: a like from an agent.
It just goes to show how the publishing industry revolves around platform. No followers, no agent, no Big 5 publisher. Although it seems to make sense on the surface, it still hurts great writers, and the industry needs to evolve and be reformed.
Despite this disheartening setback, I did NOT resign myself to self-publishing. I'm not knocking that route, and I know it may work well for some writers and be their preference, but it does not fit Sarah Awa. I'm done being a lone wolf. I was one for most of my life (thanks, 13 years of bullies and mean girls) but sank into horrible depression and was looking at the world from a very wrong angle, through a lens of lies. PTL He brought me out of that isolation and skewed thinking, and my life has gotten better and better in the 8+ years since!
I'm the kind of person who NEEDS other people, perhaps more than others do, which I finally and grudgingly (at first) admitted. But now I embrace that fact and love it! My friends, loved ones, and I are so much stronger together! Synergy rocks!! After I got past the pitfall of comparing myself to others (which usually cast me in an unfavorable light, or gave me a giant ego) and learned to love who I am--warts and all--and understood much more deeply who I am, it freed me to relax and appreciate my own strengths as well as others'. As for my weaknesses, I'm working on them without beating the crap out of myself over them anymore. And I'm much more patient with others' weaknesses too. We're all human, and we're all just trying to survive this crazy life together!!
Anyway, back to my failed #PitMad attempts. … Just weeks after the third time I participated, in July 2019 a beautiful dream I didn't even know I had came true! Deborah (it was her idea first) and Jeannie and I decided to form our own publishing company, Thinklings Books. We resolved to be the kind of publisher that modern writers need and should have.
It was the perfect solution to my publishing dilemma! Both of them being experienced editors (who'd helped me polish up Hunter's Moon a LOT), Jeannie and Deborah deemed my book to be the level of quality* that Thinklings will publish, which of course gave me a great boost in confidence. We planned, researched, and talked to so many writers, and we've made so many changes and tweaks to Thinklings as we go along, but my book is still our second offering (after Deborah's awesome supernatural spy thriller) and comes out January 1, 2020, under a brand I can unreservedly endorse and be proud of! 😃
Deborah and I are really guinea pigs, in this adjustment phase, but that's okay with me. You see, I'm over the moon^ that I get to undertake such an important venture with two of my best friends. It has turned into something far greater than my initial desire simply to get my book published traditionally. Now I burn with passion to help other quality writers who are having the same problem Deborah and I had due to our lack of platform.
Michael Hyatt recommends that you have both a selfless goal and a selfish goal when undertaking entrepreneurial endeavors. I just spelled out the selfless goal (helping other writers), but all my life I've been taught not to be selfish. After thinking about Hyatt's statement for a while, though, I realized he's right. It's not wrong to want to make some money, and the human spirit can't handle working so hard for little or no pay. You'll soon burn out and quit. This mission of ours is too important to quit! That's why our business model is evolving and we're learning where the real money is made. (After all, quality costs money! We will never compromise our quality-writing standard.)
So I guess that isn't really selfish. I don't think it's wrong to want to make a bit of money and get a little enjoyment out of life (and pay off my medical bills and other debt!). It's not the money itself; it's what you do with it that's wrong or right. Will you be greedy, or will you share and give back?
… Once again, I digress from #PitMad! My brain always thinks of SO MANY things I want to say, so many paths this post could take, but the title of the post is "#PitMad from the Other Side." …
This past Thursday, the 5th, was another #PitMad. (It's held in March, June, September, and December.) I'd skipped the September one since Hunter's Moon now has a publisher, but this month I once again participated … from the other side! I am now someone (using the Thinklings Twitter account) who gets to invite others to query! And I did send several dozen invites.
It was super weird.
And super fun! Wow, people have such awesome, creative ideas!! I read so many pitch tweets about books with fantastic-sounding premises. We got a bunch of queries, and we're all excited, and things are moving along for our business! (Plus, I'm having a blast proofreading Thinklings' third book, which will come out in March. It's a comedy, parodying epic-quest novels. Reminds me of Monty Python and Spaceballs … I love it so much!! And we have our first British author!!)
Well, I'd best get back to household chores since it's Saturday. Gotta put up my Christmas tree and décor! Hope you're having a lovely weekend!
* One of our bedrock standards and values, along with community.
^ Pun intended!! 😂
Sarah Awa lives in Ohio with two hairy guys and writes books about werewolves.